Jamshedpur, Jan. 19: East Singhbhum district authorities are turning to religious leaders to spread awareness about the pulse polio campaign.
So, after offering prayers at temples, gurdwaras, mosques and churches in Jamshedpur, the faithful should not be surprised if they have to hear about the benefits of immunisation against polio.
At a meeting chaired by DC Himani Pande last week, the district health department decided to take help of religious centres to ensure maximum coverage of children under the nation-wide pulse polio immunisation programme scheduled tomorrow.
District civil surgeon Jagat Bhusan Prasad said health officials have already met priests and clerics and would also be distributing pamphlets informing about the immunisation campaign.
“We are targeting temples, gurdwaras, mosques and church which located in city areas. We hope to meet 80 per cent of our target (children below 5 years) during the first round on January 20,” he said.
The target fixed by the state government for East Singhbhum district is 3,62,877, which has to be met within two rounds. The second round will be held in the month of February.
“We are targeting important religious centres like Manokamna Temple (Sakchi), Beldih Kalibari (Bistupur), Bhubaneshwari Temple (Birsanagar), Jama Masjid in Sakchi, St Joseph’s Cathedral (Golmuri) and Sakchi Gurdwara for spreading awareness,” Prasad said.
In fact, several mosques would be making announcements in this connection after Friday prayers.
According to data available with the district health department, there are 994 booths in urban areas from where polio drops would be administered, while there are 1,743 booths in rural areas.
The health department has also tied up with eight NGOs, Jusco, Parivar Kalyan Sansthan (a corporate sustainability wing of Tata Motors) and South Eastern Railway for using their volunteers and anganwadi workers for not only conducting the pulse polio campaign but also door-to-door surveys.
“NGO and health workers would be visiting houses to administer two drops of polio drops orally so that no child misses out,” said a health official.
In 1995, following the Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) of World Health Organisation, India launched Pulse Polio Immunisation Programme along with Universal Immunisation Programme, which aimed at 100 per cent coverage. In 2012, India was declared free of polio by WHO.